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Mark Edwards Retires After 37 Seasons at Washington University

Mark Edwards Retires After 37 Seasons at Washington University

From Washington University Athletics

Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball coach Mark Edwards has announced his retirement after 37 years on the sidelines at his alma mater. 

Edwards, who led the Bears to back-to-back NCAA Division III National Championships in 2008 and 2009, posted a 685-293 (.700) overall record. He is a three-time Division III National Coach of the Year and 10-time University Athletic Association (UAA) Coach of the Year honoree.

"I have had a tremendous 37 years at Washington University and am extremely grateful for the support extended to me by the University and athletic administration through this time," said Edwards. "I have also been fortunate to have been associated with outstanding student-athletes, assistant coaches, colleagues, parents and alumni. I thank them for all the tremendous support they have provided. They have fueled our successes and generated many memories."

Edwards ranks fifth in active wins by a NCAA Division III head coach and ninth all-time in NCAA Division III wins with 685. He became the 12th Division III coach to win 600 or more games in a career.

In 2007-08, Edwards guided WashU to its first-ever NCAA Division III National Championship, a 25-6 overall record and a second-straight Final Four appearance. He also mentored D3hoops.com and DIII News All-American, Jostens Awards Recipient and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honoree Troy Ruths.

A year later, the Bears recorded a school-record 29-2 overall mark and captured the 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship. WashU became just the fourth school in Division history to win back-to-back titles. 

"Coach Edwards is an inspiring leader, not just a truly superb coach of basketball. He is a person of uncommon ability in helping others achieve their very best and is a person who enhanced Washington University during his many years as our men's basketball coach," said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. "I have so enjoyed watching him and learning from him. The results of his coaching are stunningly good, and one of my biggest thrills was to be with Coach Edwards and the team when they won their first NCAA Championship. But Mark Edwards did much more than lead the team to victories:  he contributed to developing young men for lives of meaning and purpose. He nurtured all who had the opportunity to work with him, and on the road Mark Edwards emerged as one of best ambassadors for the University. It is one of my real privileges to have been able to work with Mark for so many years, and I know that he will continue as one of best advocates for the University."

Over the past 32 seasons, the Bears have enjoyed their most success, winning 20 or more games 18 times, participating in 21 NCAA tournaments, and finishing first or second 25 of 31 times in the UAA. WashU's 31-year record in the UAA – 330-101 (.766 winning percentage) – is the league's best mark since its inception in 1987-88.

In addition, 20 student-athletes have earned 30 All-America awards under Edwards, along with eight Academic All-America honorees. He also led the Bears to a school-record 34-consecutive winning seasons. 

"Mark Edwards is the epitome of what a basketball coach should be - more than a coach — he is a mentor, a teacher, a second father and always readily available for former student-athletes, friends, faculty and staff," said Anthony J. Azama, the John M. Schael Director of Athletics. "He has built a premier program that is not just defined by wins, but also by developing young men through their four-year experience who in turn are better prepared for the next 40 years of their professional life. A living example of the WashU Way and why Washington University is such a special place."

Edwards graduated from WashU in 1969 after playing four seasons for the Bears.  He spent the 1969-70 season as an assistant coach before the program was dropped.

After a brief stint in the Army, Edwards ended up at Washington State University as a graduate assistant coach for a semester before spending the next nine years assisting George Raveling.

As a player, the Peoria, Ill., native lettered four years in basketball and track and field at WashU, and was the team's MVP and captain his senior year. Edwards was inducted into the WashU Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

"I am proud of what we have accomplished together while creating an athletic program that does not compromise the academic integrity of Washington University," Edwards added. "What started out as a vision in 1981 has become a tradition."

A national search for Edwards' replacement will begin immediately. 

STATEMENT FOR ATTRIBUTION TO
JOHN SCHAEL, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS (1978-2014)
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS
MARCH 21, 2018
 

Mark Edwards has successfully led Washington University's men's basketball teams for 37 years and has built one of the very best intercollegiate basketball programs in the nation. Illustrious, celebrated and distinguished are words comfortably used when defining Mark's coaching career. His contributions to WashU athletics rank among the most significant by any one coach in the University's history. I congratulate Coach Edwards on his retirement. I will always value his friendship, his outstanding and inspired leadership, and his focus on enhancing the student-athlete experience.

STATEMENT FOR ATTRIBUTION TO
NANCY FAHEY, WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH (ILLINOIS)
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH (WASHU-1986-2017)
MARCH 21, 2018
 

Mark Edwards coaching expertise is clearly evident by his teams results on the court, but his impact on the people he touched day to day is special. I was lucky to be one of those people. I learned a lot from Coach Edwards about the game of basketball and beyond. He is a coach that truly cared about his players, colleagues and the Washington University community. He is a special coach and person. I feel fortunate to have shared the court with the best.

STATEMENT FOR ATTRIBUTION TO
TROY RUTHS, MEN'S BASKETBALL STUDENT-ATHLETE (2004-08)
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS
MARCH 21, 2018

 Coach Edwards was more than the best coach I've ever had. He was my mentor and friend. And he made possible one of the greatest experiences and brotherhoods of my life. Thanks for all you've given to WashU, and for turning a non-existent basketball program into a national powerhouse!

STATEMENT FOR ATTRIBUTION TO
GEORGE RAVELING, MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY (1972-83)
MARCH 21, 2018
 

Mark was far more than a winning basketball coach. He is an extraordinary teacher, leader, as well as human being. His contributions to the game will leave an indelible mark on basketball.